The 2017 USATF 100 Mile Trail Championships took place this past Saturday as part of the Rocky Raccoon 100 presented by Altra and organized by Tejas Trails. The race had a few guys on the start line with sights aimed at the record. The end of loop one had Zach Bitter leading in just under 2:25 followed by Mario Macias and James Stewart less than a minute back. Mario Mendoza and Ronnie Delzer were taking a more conservative approach eight minutes back. Sabrina Little was just a little further back leading the women. The shakeup began on the second loop as the first casualty at the front would be Bitter who gotten taken out by the roots with a sprained ankle midway through loop two. Mario Marcias completed 60 miles in 7:30:48, but would then call it a day at 63 miles.
James Stewart of Scotland was out quickly the first two loops, but checked up on loop three hitting a more moderate pace. As a British citizen, he was not eligible for the USA National Champion title. Mendoza, running his first 100 mile, ran steady through 3 laps taking over 2nd overall and 1st in the Championship. Delzer continued his plan to run his own race and remain patient, though battling through a low point in loop 3 asking himself, “Why am I running 100 miles?” Little knew as early as loop one that things were not feeling just right as her loop one split was about the same as last year, but it had not been as easy. She held it together through loop three, but needed a long stop before heading back out for loop four. Shandra Moore was holding down second for the women just over an hour back at the end of loop three.
The last 40 miles of a 100 mile race will always test the runner’s fortitude whether you’ve been pushing from the start or taking the patient approach. Delzer’s patience and perseverance would pay dividends as he was able to overtake Mendoza around 68 miles. Then on the final loop he closed to less than 4 minutes back of Stewart. Stewart had moderated soon enough to continue the fight for the win, pushing his pace after hearing that Delzer was closing midway through loop 5. Delzer would mount a final charge trying to close the gap 4 miles from the finish. But the toll of the previous 96 miles reached up to pull Delzer back to the here and now. He quickly found himself falling 8 times and needing to reevaluate this charge. Delzer had taken his shot at Stewart and now it was time to get to the finish still standing. Ronnie Delzer, The Woodlands, TX, would claim his first national title in a finish time of 13:44:28, just a little over 5 minutes after James Stewart of Scotland.
Mario Mendoza, Bend, OR, struggled and fought the effects of the distance, taking second in the USATF Championship in 14:41:44. Mendoza commented afterwards, “One hundred miles is way too far,” promising that it be a while before he does another 100 miler. Chad Lasater, Houston, TX, finished third in the Championship and first master in 15:28:27.
Little had been alone out front all day but never felt good. Most of loop four had been okay, then she lost her stomach and things would get rough, very rough. Little would vomit 6-7 times in the last 20+ miles as nothing would stay down. Loop five would be a monstrous struggle. The aid stations kept repeating the same reports, “Little is still moving, she looks real bad.” The minutes kept passing with us waiting at the finish. Then Little came into sight still moving, but doubled over as she lost the ability to stay upright several miles back. Sabrina Little, Robinson, TX, would defend her title from last year winning in 16:50:01, commenting “Easily the most hard fought victory of my life. I didn’t know if I’d make it the entire time.” Shandra Moore, Lindale, TX, would fight her own fatigue to finish second in 18:16:33. Ashley Truan, Wixom, MI, claimed third in 19:22:04. Stacy Shaw, Elkhorn, NE, would claim first master in 23:55:44 at the age of 51.
Results and photos: https://www.dropbox.com/home/USATF%20100%20Mile%20Trail%20Championships
A full list of upcoming USATF Championships can be found at: